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Noel D.Tallon, CPA, PC

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You should have a policy that all expenditures be approved by the deacon in charge.  If you are going to hold their feet to the fire on their budget, they should know and approve what is being charged to that budget.

When to Pay
Most congregations think that when someone drops a bill on your desk, you should pay it right then.  I take two different positions on this depending on who is being paid.

If the payment is a reimbursement to an individual (staff or member) reimburse them the next time checks are being written.

If it is an invoice in the ordinary course of business, pay it when it is due or as close to that time as possible.  If it says net 30 days, take advantage of that.

Cell Phones
It is reasonable to provide either a cell phone or cell phone allowance to ministers.  I suggest the latter.    If you provide a cell phone and contract it is not fair to some of the staff.  For example, if one has no land line at home, his contract amount will be significantly higher and he will be receiving a disproportionate benefit to others. 

Anyone can acquire a reasonable cell phone contract for $50-60 per month.  It would generally be hard to justify that more than half of that is business use. Therefore, I suggest that you provide an allowance of $35-50 per month.

At Mayfair, we have one cell phone in the Church's name with a minimum contract that is $20 per month.  Our ministers rotate weekly who is on call.  We program this cell phone to forward calls to whomever is on call.

Credit Cards
Church credit cards.  UhUh.  Nope.  Nada.  Businesses for the most part don't do it and neither do we. 

Actually we do have 2.  One is for on the spot office supplies.  The other is for major airline purchases.  Because of the size of our mission trips, it is not uncommon for us to spend $10,000 for tickets.

I am not going to ask a minister or deacon to cover that large an amount.  But otherwise we require them to use their own card.  This creates more of a feeling of responsibility.